Regent-Apollo is not a done deal, service says


A merger-and-acquisition information service last week withdrew a report that Apollo Management LP had won an auction to acquire Regent Seven Seas Cruises from Carlson Cos. for $1 billion.

But Mergermarket's changing the deal's status, coming amid growing buzz about the alleged deal in the consumer and trade press, seemed unlikely to dampen speculation about the possible acquisition or about Apollo's cruise-industry ambitions. 

Mergermarket first released word of the deal to, a finance-industry Web site, which, in turn, published it on Oct. 29, stoking a round of speculative news reports. Mergermarket later said it had jumped the gun with the report.

Mo Hersi, research manager at Mergermarket, said the service would reclassify the deal as "pending," adding that its "announced-deal" status would be withdrawn from reports to clients and the public.

Hersi said Mergermarket based its reporting on both company announcements and "proprietary intelligence" gleaned from bankers and industry insiders, but he noted that it generally did not report unannounced deals. He suggested that in the case of an auction, a winning bidder could emerge but might need to gather additional due diligence before striking a formal purchase agreement that would constitute an "announced deal."

Officials at Carlson and Regent would neither confirm nor deny last week that a deal was in the works. "We cannot comment on market speculation," said Sam Macalus, corporate media spokesperson at Carlson Cos. Adam Aron, the travel consultant to Apollo, said, "I can't say a word." Richard Jansen, managing director and global head of the Cruise & Ferry Group at DVB Bank, which the report said was financing the deal, declined to "comment on media reports."

Apollo's acquisitions in the cruise industry suggest considerable ambition. In September, it agreed to pay $1 billion for 50% of NCL Corp. It acquired Oceania Cruises in March for about $850 million. An acquisition of Regent would add five more ships to Apollo's fleet and doubtless set off a new round of conjecture on its intentions in the sector.

To contact reporter Lester Craft, send e-mail to [email protected].


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